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Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Wednesday, 15 July 2009 13:29 UK

Newcastle to face Leyton Orient

Newcastle United

Newcastle have scheduled a match with Leyton Orient after being told by the Football Association not to travel to Utrecht for a pre-season friendly.

The trip had been a doubt after it emerged local rivals Sunderland would be in the Netherlands at the same time.

In a statement, the FA had said it had "reluctantly withdrawn permission" for Newcastle to face Utrecht on 26 July.

The Magpies will now face the O's at Brisbane Road the day before they were due to play in Holland.

Sunderland are due to play in the Amsterdam Tournament from 24-26 July, some 30 miles away from Utrecht.

Concerns were raised that trouble could be sparked, with supporters of both clubs likely to be booked on the same flights and ferries.

Amsterdam's mayor, Job Cohen, initially called for Sunderland to withdraw from the tournament, but the FA ruled that Newcastle will have to miss out as tickets for Sunderland's trip had already gone on sale.

We have a very bad taste in our mouths because of this

Jan Willem van Dop,
FC Utrecht chairman

Its statement said: "After liaising with the KNVB (Dutch football federation) and the UK and Dutch police, permission was given to both clubs, with assurances made to the FA that there were no objections to both playing in Holland at the same time.

"Following concerns raised by the Mayor of Amsterdam, it became clear that only one of the two teams would be able to travel, and the FA actively sought to resolve the situation.

"Priority was given to Sunderland for three reasons; their application to play was received first, tickets have already been sold to their supporters, and travel arrangements have already been made.

"Newcastle United have not yet sold any tickets to their supporters."

In its own statement, the Tyneside club said it was "extremely disappointed" by the decision.


"The club now finds itself with its pre-season programme disrupted and trying to organise another game that weekend in a very short space of time.

"Newcastle United would like to apologise to its supporters, particularly those that may have already made travel arrangements, however it is clearly a matter that is completely out of its control."

FC Utrecht chairman Jan Willem van Dop had said: "We've been busy organising this match since 3 June.

"The city and police were involved from the start in the safety measures and they had good contact with their English colleagues.

"On June 30 we even received a fax from the FA in which they told us that they had spoken with the KNVB and given Newcastle United permission to travel to Utrecht.

"After that the city of Amsterdam went into action and the FA withdrew their permission.

"According to agreements, we didn't sell any tickets to Newcastle fans.

"The organisers of the Amsterdam Tournament did sell tickets to the Sunderland fans and now say they can't take that back. That's really warped.

"We have a very bad taste in our mouths because of this."

Newcastle, relegated from the Premier League last season, are currently up for sale and without a permanent manager.

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see also
Luton angry with cancelled match
15 Jul 09 |  Luton
New investor eyes Newcastle bid
12 Jul 09 |  Newcastle
Who will test the Black Cats this summer?
19 Jun 09 |  Sunderland

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